Pittsburgh Human Rights City Alliance

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Pittsburgh Human Rights City AllianceDignity & Justice for All of us"Human rights don't trickle down...they RISE UP!"

Racism is a Health Emergency! And Health is a Human Right!

Pittsburgh Human Rights City Alliance works to bring together diverse groups and individuals to help envision and realize a city that maximizes human rights and dignity for all people who live in our region (See Human Rights Cities Principles). We work with local struggles to implement people-centered human rights in Pittsburgh.

Current Projects

Explore learning resources and recordings of our two webinars on housing and human rights. These sessions brought together international and local housing justice leaders to discuss the documentary film "Push" and explore ways to build our local and national struggles for the human right to housing. Featuring dialogues with Leilani Farha, former UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Right to Adequate Housing. View Oct. 29 recording. View Nov. 5 recording

*UPCOMING WEBINAR: "Following Statue Removals, What’s Next for Racial Justice & Healing in Pittsburgh?"--Thursday December 10, 6:00PM (Online at: LINK. Protests demanding an end to police discrimination and brutality have led City leaders to remove two prominent statues—of Stephen Foster, and more recently, Christopher Columbus—from public spaces in Oakland. These steps are just a small part of the work needed to address the legacies of genocide and displacement and promote racial healing. As we recognize International Human Rights Day, we invite everyone to join us for a panel and discussion on the role of such steps in advancing racial justice and human rights. Learn about the efforts of residents to have the Columbus statue removed and hear from community leaders about its impacts on human rights in our region. Consider what further steps we can take to further the historical truth-telling that can help advance racial healing and reverse the extreme political polarization we face today. Confirmed panel participants: Prem Rajagopal, organizing fellow with the Center for Coalfield Justice; Eva Brady, Student Human Rights Task Force; Benjamin Gutschow, Casa San Jose; anu jain, Executive Director, City of Pittsburgh Gender Equity Commission.

*The World is Watching! Global movements support human rights and anti-racism in the U.S.


  • Thurs. Oct. 22: *Community Dialogue: Indigenous Peoples Day: Deconstructing white supremacy and celebrating the people’s history: Thursday, October 22, 7:00PM. Traditionally, “Columbus Day” has been celebrated in October as a day of patriotism and freedom, while in reality this narrative celebrates the exploitation, oppression, and genocide of indigenous people in our country. Indigenous Peoples Day is a day to recognize and remember the cultures that have survived, despite overwhelming violence and erasure through western narratives and other aspects of white supremacy. The Human Rights City Alliance is providing a short list of learning resources on this issue to draw attention to Indigenous Peoples Day and its significance, and is holding an online panel discussion to lift up the many issues indigenous people are facing in our country and opportunities for human rights learning in our city. Featured speakers, Miguel Sague, Jr. Member of the Board of Directors of the Council of Three Rivers American Indian Center & Dr. Michael Murphy, assistant professor of sociology. (Zoom Link) Meeting ID: 990 4736 9509. Facebook event page

*Housing, Health and Human Rights: Zero Evictions for Coronavirus --Pittsburgh joins the International Alliance of Inhabitants’ Zero Evictions Days (October 2020)-International solidarity to achieve dignity and security in housing

  • October 24-November 1, 2020: Push Film Screening (online-Link TBA)
  • Thursday October 29, 2020 7:00pm Webinar: Featuring Leilani Farha, Former UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Right to Housing: Explore the lessons behind the film and the work to build a global housing rights movement.
  • Thursday November 5, 2020 7:00PM –Webinar: Pennsylvania housing advocates and public health leaders discuss their work and perspectives on Push and October 29 panel. (for more details click here)
  • Fri. Oct. 30: Reparations and Restorative Justice for the Enslavement and Dispossession of Black Americans: A Moral Imperative Whose Time Has Come Dr. Joyce Hope Scott, Clinical Professor of African American Studies, Boston University Friday, October 30th | 12-1:30pm Click here to register. We are living in a transformative moment in history where we are confronted with simultaneous pandemics each “lethal and devastating in their own way.” One is a deadly biological foe, the other, social upheaval born of America’s original sin--slavery. While the “Great Sanitizing” of the story of American slavery and Jim Crow Segregation has made it convenient for this society and other nations that benefited from the enslavement of Africans to bask in a comfortable amnesia, ongoing calls for redress and restitution for crimes against black humanity have continued. Indeed, in 2015 the UN General Assembly proclaimed 2015-2024 as the International Decade for People of African Descent (resolution 68/237). With these exigencies in mind, this presentation will address the issue of restorative justice, highlighting the fact that the movement for reparations today is not only a national one but rather a global, pan-Africanist activity.Click here to register.

RECORDINGS: *Summer Webinar SeriesView details and recordings of past forums here

====Other meetings==== [MOST NOW ONLINE DUE TO COVID19]

Updates & Current Activities

Learning from COVID-19:Shaping a Health and Human Rights Agenda for our Region
We can’t return to status quo if we are to prevent the multiple breakdowns and failures we’re now seeing with COVID-19. Resilience and long-term, community well-being requires dramatic improvements to public infrastructure and support for housing, food, & health security. We're working with diverse groups in the community to host this forum series and build a strong people’s movement to help us realize a society that prioritizes equity and the human right to health, so that every member of our community can live dignified lives. Click here for details, recordings and summaries of past discussions

Pittsburgh Human Rights City Alliance Steering Committee Members named to Mayor’s Community Task Force on Police Reform Community leaders Brandi Fisher, President and CEO of the Alliance for Police Accountability and Monica Ruiz, Executive Director of Casa San Jose, have been tasked with helping our city develop a plan to review existing policing practices and policies and make recommendations. Here is the outline of the City’s Agenda for Police Reform.

Bringing Human Rights Home

*UPR Pittsburgh Bringing Global Human Rights Home: Pittsburgh's Human Rights Assessment & the United Nations Together with human rights defenders around the country, Pittsburgh residents are working to bring the stories and accounts of human rights conditions in our region to the United Nations through the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process. Over 2019-2020, the United States human rights record will be reviewed by international representatives and human rights experts, and the UN will issue a formal report with recommendations to the US government for improving respect for the country's international human rights obligations. A key to the UPR's effectiveness is engagement from civil society, and we're working to provide opportunities for residents to learn about human rights and the UPR process as we generate ideas for how we can make Pittsburgh and Southwest PA places where human rights thrive.

Pittsburgh Activists File Report to UN on State of Human Rights in Region

Pittsburgh City Council Passes Zero Evictions Proclamation in Solidarity with Global Movement for Housing Justice

Housing Justice

  • Housing is a Human Right-Letter to Officials The UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Adequate Housing, Leilani Farha, recently directed letters to governments and corporate leaders around the world, pointing out how prevailing policies violate international human rights obligations. This page has details and a template for contacting your local leaders to remind them of their international legal obligations.
  • Housing Justice Pittsburgh Building community power to fight displacement and promote our "Right to the City."
  • Housing Summit 2018 Area organizations are working together to build a broad alliance for affordable housing in our region. Mark your calendars for our November 10, 2018 Housing Summit, and watch for a series of events and activities aimed to develop new strategies for addressing Pittsburgh's housing crisis.
  • Housing is a Human Right: Slideshow on international treaties and opportunities to promote the human right to housing

Learn more about how Amazon's bid to move to Pittsburgh would affect human rights here. Resources, data, and recordings of community forums.

International Human Rights Monitoring

This page links to work by national and international human rights organizers to use international treaties and United Nations human rights review processes to hold local and national officials in the United States accountable to our international human rights obligations.

News & Updates

Human Rights Budgeting-Ideas and Resources for transforming how our city plans: This page shares links and background resources about how activists around the world are working to change the scripts of local politics to prioritize human rights over economic measures of progress. We believe that urban planning and development should be explicit in its attention to human rights and equity. More democratic budgeting processes are key to making this happen, and that means we all need to learn more about how city budgeting works and how it could be re-organized to engage more of the people who live in our region.

Take Action:

Regularly scheduled meetings/ Local Human Rights Groups

Alerts & Updates

  • Campaign to Stop Plan to Increase Policing on Public Transit-- This campaign led by the Alliance for Police Accountability, Casa San Jose, Pittsburghers for Public Transit, and the Thomas Merton Center warns that the Port Authority's planned fare enforcement policy will unfairly impact communities of color, increase the problematic trend of criminalizing young people, and threaten immigrant residents.The campaign is calling for civilian fare enforcers rather than armed Port Authority Police and a citation process rather than a criminal process to deal with fare evasion (See FAQs for more information). Community organizations and individuals are asked to write letters to the Port Authority in support of this campaign (see sample letter).
  • PIttsburgh Public Schools Passes Sanctuary Resolution
  • Pittsburgh becomes 6th US City for CEDAW A broad coalition of human rights advocates helped advance a new ordinance enacting the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women in our City, December 6, 2016. Stay involved in the work to carry out this commitment to better address needs of women and girls, families and communities in our city! www.pgh4cedaw.org

University-Based Projects

  • Pittsburgh area university faculty, staff, and graduate students are invited to join the University Human Rights Network. We invite volunteers from different campuses to help support work on your campus and coordinate with other campuses.
  • Pitt Human Rights Initiative
  • Campus worker organizing: Pitt faculty, graduate student workers, and other workers are organizing for their rights and to support and protect the right to education. Keep informed about the campaign on their website and Facebook page

How to get involved

Please get in touch if you're interested in some of these ongoing projects or in efforts to follow-up some of these past initiatives. We are an all-volunteer group and are working to create spaces for residents to work together to envision and build a different kind of city and region. pghrights [at] riseup [dot] net.

NEW Research on Pittsburgh and Human Rights Organizing:
Responding to Globalization and Urban Conflict: Human Rights City Initiatives Studies in Social Justice

Dangerous Times: Defending Human Rights
Values are fragile. Because the values of human rights depend foremost on the ability to empathize with others”to recognize the importance of treating others the way we would want to be treated ”they are especially vulnerable to the demagogue's exclusionary appeal. A society's culture of respect for human rights needs regular tending, lest the fears of the moment sweep away the wisdom that built democratic rule. Human Rights Watch "World Report 2017: Demagogues Threaten Human Rights-Trump, European Populists Foster Bigotry, Discrimination."

Defend Pittsburghers' Right to Stay in their City! Housing Justice
**Affordable Housing Initiative:** **Pittsburgh Housing Summit** (Resources and links to recordings of plenary sessions) "Don't evict Pittsburgh!" Housing is a human right! The essence of our city is people and communities--not buildings, businesses, and tourist attractions.Homes for All Pittsburgh

*The Human Rights City Alliance works to promote and support activities of all human rights advocates around the region. Please contact us about relevant events/activities to share: pghrigts [at] riseup.net .

About the Human Rights City Alliance

How to Get Involved


Link to more resources--toolkits, reports, and organizations supporting local human rights work

People-Centered Human Rights: Analyses from Around the Nation and World

OSHER Lifelong Learning Institute-Human Rights in Pittsburgh and Beyond, Resource Page

Past events

World Food Day 2015: Watch video recording of October 2015 panel on the Right to Food
International Workers Day March for Immigrant Rights 2016 Statement of Unity and Solidarity

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. --Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Website: pghrights.org Facebook: pghrights

e-mail: pghrights [at] riseup.net

Universal Declaration of Human Rights booklet with Pittsburgh's Human Rights City Proclamation

YWCA Pledge Stand against racism

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